Angela French Naturopath Paddington Naturopathic

Metabolic health and detoxification – How Toxic are You?

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Some of us have a slow metabolism and others fast, so what’s the difference? Metabolism is quite a complex system and contrary to what many people think, it isn’t just about weight gain or loss.
Metabolism is about all those physical and chemical processes in the body that convert or use energy, including blood circulation, food digestion, breathing, nerve and brain function. Our metabolism breaks down energy from food and then converts it into glucose and protein which our cells need to function.

A slow metabolism breaks down energy slowly while a fast metabolism does it quickly. Certainly, one’s metabolic rate will be faster with the right diet and exercise.

An Increase in Chronic Diseases

Metabolism is also affected by exposure to environmental toxins. Over the past few decades there has been an increase in chronic diseases such as dementia, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and cancer. Common symptoms of toxicity include fatigue, headaches, sore joints, mood swings, digestive problems and eczema. If nutrients are in short supply, toxic compounds can build up and aggravate your toxic situation.

Change to a Nutritious Diet

Fortunately a detoxification process can help rid the body of excess toxins and also speed up metabolism. Enough fibre and water intake will help towards ensuring a healthy gut too. Glutathione is an important liver antioxidant and detoxifier and levels can be increased by taking Vitamin C, Alpha Lipoic aid or Milk Thistle for instance.

Eating foods rich in sulphur-containing amino acids such as cysteine-rich foods like broccoli, garlic, onion, egg yolk and avocado can be beneficial as well as selenium supplementation as it is a co-factor for the enzyme glutathione peroxidase which protects the body from oxidative stress (An ageing process).

It’s in the Genes

There are different factors that contribute to your metabolism, and heredity is one of these. Your genes determine how your body stores fat. You may well have been born with cells that don’t respond well to insulin, particularly if there is a history of diabetes in your family. Also, as we grow older our hormones gradually decline which affects muscle mass loss and holding onto fat stores.

Change your Metabolism

However, metabolism can be changed and by staying active and making important lifestyles changes in terms of the way you eat, you can help change your metabolism.

Starving and missing meals to lose weight isn’t good news for your metabolism. Very low-calorie diets cause you to miss out on key nutrients, robbing the body of oxygen, sulphur, carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen. If one skips a meal, blood sugar levels drop and the brain signals the liver to release sugar from its stores of glycogen. Sugar is released into the blood stream which triggers the release of insulin from the pancreas.

Insulin resistance is often an undiagnosed issue but the good news is that the right combination of diet and exercise, can help you lose weight and keep it off for good. We look at ways to speed up a metabolism which is too slow –

  • Don’t skip meals – eat small consistent meals throughout the day. The idea is to keep your energy, blood sugar and hunger levels stable. Garlic helps regulate insulin metabolism and spices such as cayenne pepper contains capsaicin which stimulates the metabolism.
  • Drink water – this is important because if your body is dehydrated, your cells can’t function properly. Drinking more water will boost your metabolism and it has a number of other health benefits too such as less fatigue, clearer thinking and glowing skin.
  • De-stress – high stress inhibits weight loss and can cause weight gain. Exercise, yoga and meditation can help when high levels of cortisol threaten to cause poor sleep, poor digestion, weight gain and reduced immune function.
  • Get enough sleep – studies show that insufficient sleep impairs glucose metabolism, which can increase blood sugar and the stress hormone cortisol leading to increased hunger and slower metabolic function.

There’s more to Metabolism

Metabolic health and detoxification isn’t only about speeding up a sluggish digestive process. It’s about clearing your mind from negative thoughts, clearing out your living spaces, buying organic whenever possible, avoiding cigarette smoking, limiting alcohol, getting enough sleep, participating in regular exercise and including more raw foods into your diet.

The body has the power to heal itself, and Naturopathy combines various therapies, treating both acute and chronic conditions. Working with nature to facilitate and enhance the body’s own natural detoxification processes and return the body to its natural state of balance.